June 2012: The temporary labelling exemptions granted to wine fining agents based on egg and milk comes to an end on June 30th, 2012. From that day onwards, when egg or milk based fining agents have been used to make wine, they will need to be declared on the labelling unless proven to be absent in the final product. The Food Standards Agency has issued a letter to interested parties in order to outline the present situation. Read the Agency’s letter.
A population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life until young adulthood looks at the introduction of allergenic foods and the development of reported wheezing and eczema in childhood.
Note: this study was completed late last year, but the full text has only now become openly available.
June 2012: A new campaign to tackle the food allergy epidemic has been launched by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).
The campaign is being focused largely on children because of the large rise in food allergies in this group in recent years.
A specific aim is to improve food labelling. An EAACI statement says the organisation will engage with EU authorities to improve labelling, and there is direct reference in the statement to the ‘may contain’ problem.
“Some foods have the label ‘may contain peanuts’ or ‘may contain milk’,” says the statement. “This label is not regulated and is used by food manufacturers on their own initiative. But different producers use different criteria for using the ‘may contain’ label. Therefore, the current ‘may contain’ label represents different levels of contamination and hence different levels of risk.”
EAACI notes that:
- Life-threatening allergic reactions in children increased seven-fold in the last decade
- A third of all severe reactions in children occur for the first time at school with teachers largely unprepared
- Most common food allergies in children are to egg, cow’s milk and nuts
EAACI says it will work throughout 2012-2013 to establish guidelines for GPs, allergy specialists, primary care workers and the food industry.
The first element of the campaign is the launch a document that establishes minimum standards for the safety of allergic children at school.
EAACI says more than 17 million people across Europe suffer from food allergies. The sharpest increase is seen in children and young people, especially when it comes to life-threatening reactions. The number of hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions in children increased 7-fold in the last 10 years.
EAACI says that in continental Europe the most common food allergies in children are to egg, cow’s milk and tree-nuts, while in adulthood, fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables are the most common. In the UK, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts pose the biggest threat and cause 50% of all life-threatening allergic reactions. Allergy to shellfish and cod prevails in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
The campaign began at the EAACI Congress 2012 in Geneva and can be viewed online at www.stopanaphylaxis.com. The campaign will be rolled out throughout the year.
The US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that taking certain medications with fruit juices such as grapefruit juice, may interfere with the action of some drugs. One of these is an antihistamine called Allegra. Allegra is a trade name for fexofenadine and whilst Allergra is not available in the UK, fexofenadine is available as a non-drowsy antihistamine under the brand name Telfast. Research has suggested that drinking the fruit juice before, with or after the medication can significantly reduce its effect. The FDA stated that Fexofenadine may also be less effective if taken with orange or apple juice, so the advice is to avoid taking it with fruit juices.
An “early view” article just published in the journal “Anaesthesia” looks at admissions with anaphylaxis admitted to UK critical care units between 2005 and 2009.
As published in the The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Volume 123, Issue 3 , Pages 708-709 : The amount of gelatin used in the food industry is increasing worldwide. Most gelatins are of bovine and porcine origin. Because the use of bovine gelatin has caused concern in the context of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis, gelatin from pig skin has become the most widely used gelatin. A series of articles concerning anaphylactic reactions provoked by gelatin-based additives in vaccines was published in this journal some years ago. Read full article.
Some of the latest allergy research is being presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress in Geneva (EAACI Congress 2012). Highlights include:
- 47% of atopic eczema in babies occur due to stress during pregnancy
- Up to 40% of Europeans suffer from hay fever
- Top 3 European allergens: grass, birch, olive
- Pollen differs by "nationality": 4-5 fold differences in pollen potency between European countries
- Asthma and rhinitis stress Public Health in Europe
In the year of the London Olympics, this topical study looks at allergic conditions and sport in children:
Much has been written about the clinical manifestations attributed to the ingestion of gluten. In the following recently published document, a panel of experts looks at the spectrum of symptoms attributed to gluten and identifies diagnostic criteria to help clinicians determine if a patient truly suffers from a gluten-related disorder.
The FAST project (Food Allergy Specific Immunotherapy) targets prevalent, persistent and severe allergy to fish and peach. By developing a safe alternative to classical allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) to the major allergens in fish and peach (parvalbumin (Cyp c 1) and lipid transfer protein (Pru p 3), respectively) it aims to provide a safe and effective treatment that will significantly lower individual thresholds for fish or peach intake, thereby decreasing anxiety and dependence on rescue medication.
The method used in the project is to replace food extracts with hypoallergenic recombinant major allergens as the active ingredients of the SIT.